(CNN) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with Donald Trump in New York on Wednesday, urging the President-elect to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until a modernized immigration system can be decided by Congress.
Emanuel delivered a letter co-signed by 14 other mayors, including New York’s Bill de Blasio, and two other local government officials on the issue.
“Ensuring DREAMers can continue to live and work in their communities without fear of deportation is the foundation of sound, responsible immigration policy,” Emanuel wrote.
Trump has said he will terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an executive action signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012 that gives some undocumented immigrants an exemption from deportation and a renewable two-year work permit.
More than 740,000 people have been approved to receive DACA status, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics. Among the guidelines, the policy states applicants must have come to the United States before they turned 16 years old, must have been in the States since June 15, 2007, and cannot have been convicted of certain crimes.
“Those are students, those are also people who want to join the armed forces, they gave their name, their address, their phone number, where they are. … They are something we should hold up and embrace,” Emanuel said after meeting with Trump; his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; and his senior adviser, Steve Bannon.
Trump has not yet commented on the meeting. On his website he calls Obama’s DACA executive action “illegal and unconstitutional.”
But in an interview with Time magazine, which named Trump person of the year, he softened his stance.
“We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” he said. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Emanuel, who was Obama’s chief of staff from January 2009 to October 2010, said they also discussed how White House operations might run. They also had discussions on infrastructure investments, education programs and Chicago as a sanctuary city, the mayor said.